Sunday, April 29, 2018

Daily Thought For April 29, 2018

The Gentle Way

To live in a gentle way, it is important to respect ourselves, never growing irritated with ourselves or our imperfections. Although it is but reasonable that we should be displeased and grieved at our own faults, we need to guard against being bitter, angry, or fretful about them. Many people fall into the error of being angry because they have been angry, or impatient because they have given way to impatience; this keeps them in a chronic state of irritation, strengthens the impressions made, and prepares one for a fresh fall on the first occasion. Moreover, all this anger and irritation against one’s self fosters pride, springing as it does from self-love, which is disturbed and upset by its own imperfection.

What we need is a quiet, steady, firm displeasure at our own faults. A judge who speaks deliberately and calmly when he gives sentence will punish vice more effectively than speaking in an impetuous and passionate way, for in that case he would be punishing not so much the actual crimes before him, as his own perceptions of them. We can chasten ourselves far better by a quiet and steadfast repentance than by eager hasty efforts at penitence, prompted not so much by the weight of our faults, as by our own negative feelings and inclinations.

Believe me, as a parent’s tender, affectionate admonishment carries far more weight with his child than does anger and sternness, so, when we judge our own heart to be guilty, if we treat it gently, rather in a spirit of pity than anger, encouraging it to make amends, our repentance will be much deeper and more lasting than it would be if it were stirred up by vehemence and wrath. Suppose that I am trying to conquer my vanity, and yet I have fallen into that sin. Instead of taking myself to task as abominable and wretched for breaking so many resolutions, calling myself unfit to lift up my eyes to heaven, disloyal, faithless, and the like, I need to deal with myself quietly and with compassion: “My heart! So soon fallen again into the snare! Well now, rise up again bravely and fall no more. Seek God’s mercy, hope in him, ask him to keep you from falling again, and begin to walk on the pathway of humility once more. You must be more careful from now on.” This will be the surest way to carry out a steadfast and substantial effort against this special fault. We can add any suitable external means, and this includes the advice of our director. If any one does not find this gentle dealing sufficient for himself, he could use sterner self-rebuke and admonition, provided only that whatever indignation he may rouse against himself, he can bring it all in the end to a tender, loving trust in God, treading in the footsteps of that great penitent who cried out to his troubled soul: “Why are you downcast, my soul; why do you groan within me? Wait for God, whom I shall praise again, my savior and my God” (Ps 42:6).

So then, when you have fallen, lift up your heart quietly, humbling yourself deeply before God for your frailty, without marveling that you fell, since there is no cause to marvel because weakness is weak, infirmity, infirm, and frailty, frail. Sincerely regret that you should have offended God, and begin anew to seek the grace you need, with a very deep trust in God’s mercy, and with a bold, brave heart.

—Excerpt from Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3: Chapter 9


Francis de Sales. (2012). Courage in Chaos: Wisdom from Francis de Sales. (K. Hermes, Ed.) (pp. 1–3). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Daily Thought For April 28, 2018

Great Thoughts On The Call To Holiness

To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain.[14]

15. Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God; turn to him in every situation. Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life (cf. Gal 5:22-23). When you feel the temptation to dwell on your own weakness, raise your eyes to Christ crucified and say: “Lord, I am a poor sinner, but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better”. In the Church, holy yet made up of sinners, you will find everything you need to grow towards holiness. The Lord has bestowed on the Church the gifts of scripture, the sacraments, holy places, living communities, the witness of the saints and a multifaceted beauty that proceeds from God’s love, “like a bride bedecked with jewels” (Is 61:10).


16. This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbour and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step.


APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE

OF THE HOLY FATHER
FRANCISON THE CALL TO HOLINESS
IN TODAY’S WORLD

Friday, April 27, 2018

Daily Thought For April 27, 2018

Walking with Jesus

Lectio

John 14:1–6

Meditatio

“… so that where I am you also may be.”

This passage marks a transition in John’s Gospel. Jesus knows he will no longer be physically accessible to his disciples. But Jesus reveals that they will still have access to him, only in a different way. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus will be present in his followers, and that presence will be nourished by the Holy Eucharist.

The disciples don’t completely understand this. They want to be where Jesus is. Jesus tells them that he will return and take them where he is. And Thomas, speaking for so many of us, says exactly the opposite of what Jesus just said—“but we don’t know where you’re going, so we don’t know the way.”

Jesus responds to Thomas in a way completely different from the way the question was posed: no address, no directions. His response is himself. The place that Jesus wants to take us to is the Father. He is preparing us for direct contact with the Father. This reality is possible through Jesus alone.

Therefore, the way is wherever Jesus is, because Jesus is always in the presence of the Father. What is the most secure way to the Father? Jesus. Why? Because he reveals the truth about who we are—about the original intent with which the Father created us. By following Jesus, we are able to live as the Father willed that we live before the fall. That is now possible through the life that Jesus won for us, and in which he precedes us as the Risen One.

I am the Way, Jesus says. Walk with me—not around me, not ahead of me. I left you the example. Do what I did because that’s the way that will most securely lead you to me. Walk with me because I am the Way. Follow me because I am the Light. I will lead you to life—to my Father, “so that where I am you also may be.”

Oratio

Jesus, I struggle with the same thing Thomas did. I want to go to heaven to enjoy the place you are preparing for me. But I’m so unsure how to get there. You tell me that by following in your footsteps I will be with you and with your Father. Help me follow you more closely, especially when I want to go in a different direction. When I am troubled, remind me of the truth that believing you will help me believe in the Father’s love for me. May I allow your life to grow in me so that the Father’s dream might be fulfilled in me. Amen.

Contemplatio

I can’t wait to see the “place” you are preparing for me, Jesus!

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 66–67). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Daily Thought For April 26, 2018

Helping People Get Closer To The Lord A Clear Sign We Are Responding To God's Love
 

    Our love of God is merely a response to His love. He loved us first.  Ours is the love God places in our souls so that we too are able to love. That is why we ask him, Lord, give me the love with which you want me to love you. 
    We correspond with the love of God when we love others; when we see in them the dignity proper to the human person, made as it has been in the image and likeness of God, created with an immortal soul and called to give glory to God for all eternity. Love is to approach that wounded man we come across on our journey each day; it is to bind up his wounds, restore him to health and take care of him in all things. We must exert ourselves on his behalf, making a serious effort in order to bring him to God. Separation from God is always the greatest of evils, and those thus separated from him are in need of our help and our urgent attention. Apostolate is a wonderful sign of our love for God, and is the way to love him more. 
 
From In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 p.5

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Daily Thought For April 25, 2018

Proposing The Faith
(Daily Meditation from The Magnificat)

Doesn’t proposing the Faith mean proclaiming the Father’s love in the world? Doesn’t the Gospel require, from one end to another, that it be proclaimed in the world and against the “world”? Doesn’t the Gospel present the Faith as a choice to be made in the world, between the “world” and the Kingdom of heaven, a choice bought for us by Christ, and for which he gives us the strength?… And, lastly, in order for the Faith truly to become this choice, doesn’t it need to be connected with the “Be converted!”? Isn’t Faith for us a “turning back” and a “reversal”?

Can the apostolate be anything other than a living contradiction between that in us which God has made his own and the things before our eyes that remain foreign to us? Is the Kingdom of heaven not suffering violence everywhere we look? Doesn’t this violence pervade and penetrate the world from one end to the other, through all its parts, wherever God’s Dominion runs up against the prince of this “world”? Wherever Redemption runs up against sin? Wherever the Church runs up against the world?

Is there any way for apostolate to skirt around this accidental but constant, unequal but fundamental antagonism? And if it does have to face up to this antagonism, how would it be possible for this confrontation to keep from taking indefinitely new forms in the changing places that it occurs?

To the extent that the Faith does not speak out loud and clear in this confrontation, the world can maintain a surface ambiguity. But the moment the Faith shows itself to the world, the world can no longer remain ambiguous; the “world” that tries to hide within it is forced to come out and present itself as being at odds with the Faith.

Servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl


Servant of God Madeleine Delbrêl († 1964) was a French laywoman, writer, and mystic devoted to caring for the poor and to evangelizing culture.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Daily Thought For April 23, 2018

Stay Close To The Lord
    
     My Jesus, true center of my life, let my attention be so fixed on You that I may be aware of You in everything I do. I will never separate myself from You by undue anxiety or overeagerness for success. In the good works which I perform, I want You to take charge. I desire to surrender myself entirely to You in all my occupations. No longer shall my will lead me on, but Yours. I shall always strive to make my best efforts. The results are yours to decide. My greatest joy from now on will be to work for love of You. Amen.  
 
from My Daily Bread p.381

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Daily Thought For April 22, 2018

Pope Francis On The Holy Spirit

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to let ourselves be imbued with the light of the Holy Spirit, so that He introduces us into the Truth of God, who is the only Lord of our lives. In this Year of Faith let us ask ourselves if we have actually taken a few steps to get to know Christ and the truths of faith more, by reading and meditating on the Scriptures, studying the Catechism, steadily approaching the Sacraments. But at the same time let us ask ourselves what steps we are taking so that the faith directs our whole existence. Do not be a ‘part-time” Christian, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices, be Christian at all times! The truth of Christ, that the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us, always and forever involves our daily lives. Let us invoke him more often, to guide us on the path of Christ's disciples.

Pope Francis−Wednesday Audience May 15, 2013

Friday, April 20, 2018

Daily Thought For April 20, 2018

What Does Love Like?

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men and women. That is what love looks like.

St. Augustine
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Daily Thought For April 18, 2018

The Bread that Keeps Us from Getting Lost
Now, this surely is a very true interpretation of the purpose of Holy Communion. It is to give me the courage to persevere. Too often probably to me…has come the same swift change from presumption to despair. Perhaps I had thought that I had finally quelled some temptation or sin that had long bothered me. A chance sermon or a passage in a book, or the remark of a friend, and at once the old world has come back to me.
Or it may be that it was some trifling but frequent failure that for long distressed me, and then was for a time overcome and driven from power. Always, however, the result was that, however successful for the moment, I found myself ultimately returning whither I had first begun. All the exceptional efforts and fierce resolutions and elaborate addition of prayers, all the feeling of having done great things, ended at best in a respite, which, after all the stress, appeared a complete victory. I thought to myself that the battle in that part of the field had been won, that I could rest now without precautions or guards. Then swiftly has come my fall, although months may at times elapse before my undoing is manifest.
But all the same, the effect in my soul is a quick despair. What is the use of struggle if it is always to end in defeat? I find myself utterly weary, hopeless. The old faults are still there unconquered—at least not slain.
Now, it is just at this moment of discomfiture that I need the voice of God’s angel to call me to the Bread and the Wine, for I have always “yet a long way to go.” By no means has the end come….
Rather, because of my weariness and dismay is my need for the food more urgent, that in that externally provided help I may walk the rest of my appointed path. Courage is my greatest requirement, and it is here I shall find it.
Father Bede Jarrett, o.p.
Father Jarrett († 1934) was a Dominican priest from England widely esteemed for his preaching, his 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Daily Thought For April 17, 2018

Conversion—The Ultimate Reality Check

I often think that the ideal of our perfection that we set up, and often go through torture to achieve, may not be God's idea of how He wants us to be at all. That may be something quite different that we never would have thought of, and what seems like a failure to us may really be something bringing us closer to His will for us.

Caryll Houselander

Monday, April 16, 2018

Daily Thought For April 16, 2018

Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

Make sure that every person, of whatever background, can find in you a welcoming heart.

Pope Benedict XVI 



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Daily Thought For April 15, 2018

Welcome Home!

Christ asks for a home in your soul, where he can be at rest with you, where he can talk easily to you, where you and he, alone together, can laugh and be silent and be delighted with one another.

Caryll Houselander

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Daily Thought For April 14, 2018

A Born Again Experience

I used to regard it as extremely difficult and demanding to do what God's mercy was suggesting to me. I myself was held in bonds by the innumerable errors of my previous life, from which I did not believe I could possibly be delivered, so I was disposed to acquiesce in my clinging vices and to indulge my sins .... But after that, by the help of the water of new birth, the stain of my former life was washed away, and a light from above, serene and pure, was infused into my reconciled heart ... a second birth restored me to a new man. Then, in a wondrous manner every doubt began to fade.... I clearly understood that what had first lived within me, enslaved by the vices of the flesh, was earthly and that what, instead, the Holy Spirit had wrought within me was divine and heavenly. (Ad Donatum 3-4)  
 
St. Cyprian

Friday, April 13, 2018

Daily Thought For April 13, 2018

Why Humility Is Important
     
Humility, which gives preference to others, is not very popular today principally because men have forgotten the Greatness of God. By expanding our puny little self to the Infinite, we have made the true Infinity of God seem trivial. The less knowledge we have of anything, the less significant it seems. Our hatred of a person often decreases as we learn to know him better. A boy graduating from high school is generally not as humble as when he graduates from medical school. At eighteen he thought he knew it all; at twenty-eight he feels himself ignorant in the face of the medical science he has yet to acquire. So it is with God. Because we do not pray or contemplate or love Him, we become vain and proud; but when we know Him better, we feel a deep sense of dependence which tempers our false independence. Pride is the child of ignorance, humility the offspring of knowledge. 

Proud people think themselves to be better than they are, and when criticized always believe their neighbor is jealous or has a grudge against them. The humble know themselves as they really are, for they judge themselves as they judge time, by a standard outside themselves, namely, God and His Moral Law. The psychological reason for the modern fondness for news which deflates others or which brings out the evil in their lives, is to solace uneasy consciences which are already laden with guilt. By finding others who apparently are more evil than we, we falsely believe that we are somehow better "than the rest of men" (Luke 18:11). It used to be that the most popular biographies were stories about the lives of good men and women worthy of our imitation, rather than the recounting of scandals for the sake of making us believe we are more virtuous than we really are. The pagan Plutarch said: "The virtues of great men served me as a modern mirror in which I might adorn my own life." 

Fulton Sheen Finding True Happiness pp. 35-36

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Daily Thought For April 11, 2018

Living In The Light

Lectio

John 3:16–21

Meditatio

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son …”

A true gift is given out of love with no strings attached. The receiver may either accept it with joy, hugging or kissing the giver, or disregard its value and reject it, perhaps ignoring the giver. Jesus compares himself to a gift given to humanity by his Father, who gives us his only-begotten Son so that we may have eternal life through him. The Father offers us his unconditional love. As a loving Father, he only wants the best for us, and he offers this great gift to all. Will we accept this offer and open our hearts to his love? Or will we refuse to accept him and turn away from his love? Will we live in the light or walk in darkness?

Jesus is the light of the world. It is easier and safer to travel during the day than at night, because street signs and landmarks are visible. But at night, even where there are streetlights, it’s easier to make a wrong turn or miss an exit on the highway. Dangers may lurk on lonely roads. In a similar way, we can live in spiritual light or spiritual darkness. If we choose darkness, we will see neither our slavery to sin nor our need for God’s merciful love. Or we can choose to travel on the path illumined by Christ, the Light of Life. We can choose light over darkness, life over death. We believe in Jesus because we see him as the Truth. We can accept his love and live in the truth, the truth that makes us free. By loving Jesus in return we live the truth. The more we live in Christ, the Light, the more our works “may be clearly seen as done in God.”

Oratio

Jesus, my risen Savior, I thank you for proving your love by giving your life for me through your passion and death. I praise you for raising me up to new life, and giving me the promise of living eternally with you, through your resurrection. In the sacraments you continually give of yourself so that I may have the wisdom, strength, and desire to love you in return by offering my life for others. May I never reject your gift of love but always keep my heart open, so that your light may shine through me and my “works may be clearly seen as done in God.”

Contemplatio

“Whoever lives the truth comes to the light …”


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 26–27). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Daily Thought For April 10, 2018

No One Is Beyond God's Mercy

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus used a parable about two men who were in debt to illustrate how a sin­ful woman could end up being more honored in the kingdom of God than a devoted, educated Pharisee.

In essence, Jesus told his dinner host, a Pharisee named Simon, that this woman’s act of love, gratitude, and devotion far surpassed his mea­ger attempts at hospitality. So let’s look at her example to see what we can learn about the kind of devotion that both pleases the Lord and lifts us up to his presence.

First, we can say that prayer is for sinners. According to Simon, this woman was a hopelessly incurable sinner unworthy of God’s forgive­ness. But she shows that those who see their sin and their need are the ones most likely to turn to the Lord for healing and forgiveness. They are also more likely to shower him with praise and worship in response to his mercy. In contrast, people like Simon, those who underestimate their need for mercy, also fail to rec­ognize the value of the Savior.

Second, we can say that prayer is an act of humility. The woman knelt at Jesus’ feet and gave him a gift of precious ointment. She was humble enough to interrupt a formal din­ner party so that she could worship Jesus. She knew she had received a tremendous gift, and she didn’t let her pride stand in the way of thank­ing Jesus for his love.

Third, prayer is primarily about Jesus, not us. The woman didn’t come with a list of her needs and petitions. She didn’t come ready to debate issues of theology or philos­ophy. She came just to be in Jesus’ presence and to offer him her wor­ship. All she wanted to do was to spend time with Jesus—to pour her life out to him in worship and thanksgiving. She didn’t even care if Simon and his friends tried to throw her out. She was preoccupied with one thing—Jesus—and she would not be denied her chance to wor­ship him.

May we all run to the Lord as this woman did!

“Jesus, you are worthy of my whole life. Here I am, Lord. I come before you to worship you and to pour myself out in praise and surrender to you.”


Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us — September 20, 2012 (www.wau.org)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Daily Thought For April 9, 2018

The Annunciation & Christian Sacrifice
Christian sacrifice does not consist in a giving of what God would not have without us but in our becoming totally receptive and letting ourselves be completely taken over by him. Letting God act on us—that is Christian sacrifice.

Ratzinger, J. (2004). Introduction to Christianity (Revised Edition). (J. R. Foster, Trans.) (p. 283). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Daily Thought For April 8, 2018

Divine Mercy — Something Worth Talking About!

“My child, you are My delight, you are the comfort of My Heart. I grant you as many graces as you can hold. As often as you want to make Me happy, speak to the world about My great and unfathomable mercy.”

St. Faustina — Diary #164

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Daily Thought For April 7, 2018

The Resurrection Challenges Us To Break Out!

He is not here... he is risen! This is the message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete gestures of charity. How greatly we need to let our frailty be anointed by this experience! How greatly we need to let our faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen, and with him, he makes our hope and creativity rise so that we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are not alone.

To celebrate Easter is to believe once more that God constantly breaks into our personal histories, challenging our “conventions”, those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.

The stone before the tomb shared in this, the women of the Gospel shared in this, and now the invitation is addressed once more to you and to me. An invitation to break out of our routines and to renew our lives, our decisions, and our existence. An invitation that must be directed to where we stand, what we are doing and what we are, with the “power ratio” that is ours. Do we want to share in this message of life or do we prefer simply to continue standing speechless before events as they happen?


He is not here... he is raised! And he awaits you in Galilee. He invites you to go back to the time and place of your first love and he says to you: Do not be afraid, follow me.

Pope Francis —excerpt from Homily of the Easter Vigil, March 31, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Daily Thought For April 6, 2018

Love Increases The More It Is Given

This is part of the mystery of the Risen Jesus, of the humility of God: he asks men and women for their contribution. He needs their assent. The Lord asks us to set out for him. He asks us to become fishers for him. He asks us to trust him and to act according to the guidance of his Word. He expects us to take this Word of his as more important than our own experiences and perceptions. He asks us to act and to live on the basis of his Word.

But then something remarkable happens. When the disciples return Jesus does not need their fish. He has already prepared breakfast, and now invites the disciples to eat it; he is the host who provides them with food. The gift is mysterious but nevertheless not hard to decipher. The bread is he himself: I am the bread of life. He is the grain of wheat that dies and now bears fruit a hundredfold and is abundant for everyone until the end of time. His cross on which he gave himself is the miraculous multiplication of loaves, the divine overcoming of the attempt by the devil to catch people with bread and dramatics. Only love can bring about the true multiplication of bread. Material gifts, what is quantitative, always diminish through being divided.


Love however increases the more it gives itself. Jesus is the bread, and he is also the fish that for our sake has gone down into the water of death to look for us there and to find us. This is the lesson of the breakfast to which Jesus invites his own on the borderline of time and eternity, the Eucharist. Come and eat, he says to us and thus enables us already to cross the boundary of time and death.

Pope Benedict XVI (from the Daily Reflection from the Magnificat)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Daily Thought For April 5, 2018

God's Amazing Love

Jesus loved me and gave himself up for me. This is the great truth that consoles us. Jesus shows his love by giving his life. He loves each of us as if each one were the sole object of his affections. We should meditate often on this truth: God loves me. This surpasses the most improbable expectations of the human heart. No one — without divine Revelation — would dare to guess at or acknowledge this sublime vocation to which each and every person is called: to be God's son or daughter, called to live a close relationship as a friend, to participate in the very Life of the three divine Persons. Considered with earthbound eyes, it seems a dream, or scarcely credible, but it is the truth, the great truth that should move us to correspond. 

Jesus never stops loving us, helping us, protecting us, talking to us, not even in our moments of sheer ingratitude, or after we have committed the greatest disloyalty. Perhaps it was during such sad circumstances that our Lord has been most attentive to us, as today's parable suggests. Among the hundred sheep in the flock, only the one that was lost had the honour of resting on the good shepherd's shoulders. I will be with you always, in each situation, at every moment, our Lord tells us. And especially when we begin that final journey towards him. 

Certain that our Lord is close to us, we should be moved to begin and begin again in the interior struggle, without being disheartened by the negative experience of our defects and sins. Every moment we live is unique, and therefore provides a good opportunity to begin again, because - as we read in the book of Deuteronomy - the Lord will go before you. He will be with you: He will not leave you or abandon you. Do not fear or be cowardly. 
 
For many centuries the Church had placed on the lips of priests and faithful, at the beginning of the Mass, the words of the Psalm 42:4: "I will go to the altar of God, of God who gives joy to my youth."  These words were repeated when the priests and people were young, and when they had long since passed the years of their maturity. They are the cry of the soul going straight to Christ, who knows he is loved and desires love. 

God loves me. And John the apostle writes, 'Let us love God, then, since God loved us first'. As if this were not enough, Jesus comes to each one of us, in spite of our patent wretchedness, to ask us, as He asked Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?' 

This is the moment to reply: 'Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you!' adding, with humility, 'Help me to love you more. Increase my love!' These are aspirations that can serve us today. They will bring us closer to Christ. He awaits our correspondence with him. 
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez pp. 361-362

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Daily Thought For April 4, 2018

Easter Joy!

Easter is the greatest feast of our faith.  We are an Easter people, a people marked by joyfulness.  Jesus is raised.  He has conquered sin and death.  His victory is our victory.  His death means our redemption.  His resurrection means our salvation.  How could a person not be filled with joy over such wonderful news?

Every genuine Christian cannot help but be transformed by the Easter event.  All is changed:  darkness to light, doubt to faith, selfishness to generosity, despair to hope, sin to grace, and death to eternal life.

Easter should have profound ramifications on our outlook and attitude, our disposition and demeanor.  How can a person be both a Christian and frowning, grumpy, pessimistic, sour, disagreeable, or negative?  They cannot!  These features are like oil and water.  They simply do not mix.  Easter Christians are just the opposite:  smiling, cheerful, optimistic, upbeat, happy, agreeable, and positive.

People can tell rather quickly whether someone is an Easter person or not.  We all “give off vibes,” “send out signals.”  Easter people radiate genuine positive energy, and in doing so, bear witness to the reality of the resurrection.

While Easter happens on one Sunday of the year, we are called to be Easter people all of the time:  in Lent and Easter, Advent and Christmas, and Ordinary Time too.  For Christians, every day is Easter!  Every day is a day to be joyful!  Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22), a trademark of the authentic Christian.  Jesus said, “People will know that you are my disciples by your love” (Jn 13:35).  Upon his rising Jesus could have easily also said, “People will know you are my disciples by your joy.”

Fr. Michael Van Sloun

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Daily Thought For April 3, 2018

We Are An Easter People

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

St. John Paul II

Monday, April 2, 2018

Daily Thought For April 2, 2018

Easter Is All About Rekindling Enthusiasm!
Lectio
Matthew 28:8–15
Meditatio
“Say, ‘his disciples came by night and stole him.’ ”
The religious authorities didn’t know what to make of Jesus’ disappearance, and wanted to squelch any rumors at the outset. So they came up with a tale about theft. People would buy it, they thought.
And people did buy it. The story was still circulating when Matthew’s Gospel reached its final edit, several decades later. A deep gulf had been dredged between people who passionately believed in the resurrection of Jesus and others who emphatically did not. Our world today is both similar to that world and different from it. The gulf is present, but seldom mentioned. There is little evidence of passionate belief.
Why does the somber season of Lent come so naturally, while the joyous season of Easter seems so challenging? By way of an answer, how often do we think of Easter, once the feast itself has passed?
In some cultures, people used to (and may still do) greet one another during the Easter season with these words:
“Christ has risen!”
“He has risen indeed!”
This beautiful greeting was a reminder of the great mystery they had just celebrated. We can carry these words in our hearts and, after greeting others in our usual way, repeat them in the depths of our soul. May they echo within us throughout the day! In remembering and reflecting on the overwhelming love that God has shown us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can become—as Saint Augustine expressed it—alleluias from head to foot.
Christ has risen—he has risen indeed!
Oratio
Lord Jesus, I believe! But rekindle my enthusiasm. Don’t let the skepticism of our secular culture cloud my belief or dampen my joy. You are the Faithful One, living and true. You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You are the Resurrection and the Life. You are the Savior of the world. Increase my Easter joy. Let the overwhelming reality of your resurrection illumine my path, guiding me through the obscurity of earthly life to the brightness of eternity.
Contemplatio
I want to really live this Easter season!

 Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 8–9). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.